Posts Tagged ‘Long Winter Campaign’

LWC – Bridgetown

June 5, 2017

There are two main crossings over the Great River bisecting the Riverlands.  The first is the Old Span, about half-way up the river, connecting the northern settlements of the Grimhau, Garrison Hill and the Citadel with the Halfling settlement of Weboken in the south, near the Crater Mountains.

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The other is Bridgetown, the largest trade center and settlement in the Riverlands.  Before the Cataclysm it was known as the city of Durlan.  A massive stone bridge spanned the river there, capped at each end with impressive gatehouses.  The bridge was, for all intents, a fortress.

On the night of the Cataclysm, when fire rained down from the heavens, and the dead walked the streets of Durlan, survivors fled to the fortified bridge for sanctuary.  For days the gate guards, bolstered by a detachment of the city garrison, fought off wave after wave of undead attackers.  Even as the first snows fell the attacks continued, not stopping until their undead assailants literally froze in place from the unrelenting cold.

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In those early days of the long winters, the defenders survived by cutting fishing holes out of the frozen river, and scavenging from the rime covered ruins of Durlan.  The frozen dead were dumped onto the Great River where, after the first thaw, they eventually would be carried down to the swampy region known as the Mogg, cursing the southern Riverlands to this day.

The survivors used the detritus of their former home to build new shelters over the bridge.  Over time, the ruins of Durlan slowly disappeared, and Bridgetown grew into a ramshackle shanty town, clinging precariously to the bridge’s stonework.  Bridgetown is now home to over 3,000 people, mostly humans, the vast majority of whom make their livings either by fishing or by trade.

As the most centrally located settlement, strategically located on the Great River, Bridgetown has become the Riverlands’ greatest trade hub, and thus its largest and wealthiest community.  During the thaw, merchants and traders from all corners of the Riverlands can be found there.  Anything available for sale can be found in Bridgetown (though, perhaps, at a significant markup).

As conditions have improved, and Bridgetown has grown, the community sprawled out along the riverbanks, though not yet too far from the safety of Bridgetown’s stout gatehouses.  The ruins of old Durlan sprawl along the north side of the bank, home only to the desperate: bandits, outcasts and the odd goblin or three.

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While the city ruins are pretty well picked over, rumors persist of ancient catacombs and sewer ways that conceal the buried Imperial wealth of Durlan.  They also say that some of Durlan’s long dead inhabitants still haunt these hidden cellars and vaults, patiently awaiting adventurers to free them from their ancient tombs.

 

 

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LWC – Revised PFBB Character Sheet

June 1, 2017

A friend turned me on to a PDF editor called PDFescape.  I’ve been playing around with it to modify the standard PFBB character sheet for use with the Long Winter Campaign.  Mainly what I’ve done is change the equipment section to reflect item slots.  I’ve also altered some non-vital sections to documents backpack slots and pouch slots (see below).

Boxes J & K of page 1 have been changed to reflect items carried in the character’s hand, such as weapon and shield, coin-filled bags, a favorite staff, etc.

PFBB Revised Char Sheet Pg1

Boxes J & K changed to reflect items held in the character’s hand, such as weapons or coin-filled sacks.

Page 2 has more extensive modifications.  I’ve added a number of new inventory slot types, and consolidated the Chest and Armor slots into one (as there’s only one item in PFBB that uses the chest slot anyways).

PFBB Revised Char Sheet Pg2

Sections O & P have been modified to record pouch and backpack inventory slots, respectively.

The Back slot is ideally meant for backpacks, but could be used for a large weapon slung on the back.

The Sling slot is meant for items slung on the shoulder or across the body, such as a bow, a quiver, the Bag of Holding, a bedroll, or a bundle of some sort.

Ready slots are used for readily accessible items tucked into the belt, or possibly into a cloak or tunic, such as potions, sheathed swords, or wands, axes or hammers tucked into belts.  Ready slots also hold pouches, which can be used to carry up to two small items, like potions, caltrops, coins (50 per slot), wands, daggers and the like.

You’ll note that there’s nowhere to record coins or treasure.  The idea is that all treasure is carried somewhere in an inventory slot, whether it’s a backpack, pouch or a sack.  Naturally, valuable jewelry can be recorded in neck and ring slots (assuming the character doesn’t already have magic items in those slots).

Pouch slots hold 50 coins each; backpack slots hold 300 coins each; a sack holds around 400 coins (carried in hand, or if tied off on a belt it uses a Ready slot).

Finally, each character is restricted to carrying a single “heavy” item, such as a small chest, a marble bust, a bundle of metal armor, rolled-up tapestry, and the like.  Most likely heavy items will have to be carried in the character’s hands.

Cheers!

Weboken (LWC)

May 1, 2017

Nestled in the shadow of the Crater Mountains lies the hidden Halfling community of Weboken.  Prior to the Cataclysm, Weboken was an idyllic village of some 1,000 individuals, with cozy little homes built into the rolling hillsides.

 

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Weboken, during better times.

When the Long Winter came, Weboken was better prepared than most to weather the two-year long snows.  The Halflings naturally maintained impressive larders, stockpiling a vast reserve of food, “just in case.”  Their preparations served them well, for the Halflings lasted nearly the two full years of snow before they started to feel starvation’s prick.  And their isolation protected them from raiding parties during the snow’s brief intervals.

When the first thaw arrived, the industrious Halflings immediately set about replenishing their granaries and larders.  But raiders soon followed the first harvest, and that is when Weboken lost the majority of its population.  The incessant attacks wore down the poorly prepared Halflings, nearly wiping out the community.

 

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Eventually the survivors consolidated into a single, large hill.  The Halflings built their cozy little homes facing towards the interior of the hill, linked with vast open meeting chambers and a maze of tunnels.  Well hidden “light tubes” allow natural light into the hill, which is redirected by a clever system of polished metal mirrors, thus allowing Weboken to retain a portion of the charm and warmth of the pre-Cataclysmic times.  They even maintain vast, subterranean chambers to shelter their herds during winter.

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A few buildings dot the top of the hill, but most of Weboken’s surface is given over to ditches, fortifications and watch towers.  The once idyllic community is now quite formidable, at least from the outside.

Weboken is presently home to approximately 500 Halflings, and another 50 or so people of other various races.  They are prodigious farmers, being one of the few communities able to trade surplus food.  Merchants from Bridgetown and the Grimhau frequently visit Weboken during the thaws, trading weapons and tools for provisions.  There also a few nearby lumber camps, whose workers winter in Weboken, which keep the town well supplied in lumber.

By necessity virtually every adult Halfling is now a well-trained warrior, all sharing patrols and guard duty alike.  On rare occasion the community must launch punitive expeditions against larger raiding parties.  They are able to muster up to 200-300 warriors for such tasks.  Fortunately, Weboken is on good terms with all the civilized outposts of the Riverlands.

For adventurers, Weboken is a good stopover for adventuring in, and beyond, the Crater Mountains.  It’s also a good place to pick up large quantities of provisions at very reasonable prices, as well as livestock, wood and leather goods.  Unfortunately, finished goods, like weapons, armor and tools, are highly prized in isolated Weboken, so they tend to sell for a premium.

Long Winter Campaign is…Go?

May 7, 2016

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Looks like I might finally have a chance to run the Long Winter Campaign in a couple of weeks.  Now it’s time to drill down from high-level concepts and ideas to specific content.

I will, of course, post campaign updates here, for those who are interested.  Cheers.

Edit:  Never mind.  Looks like the Long Winter campaign will have to wait a little longer. 🙂

LWC – The Collegium Lacunae

December 11, 2015

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Tucked deep in the bowels of the Grimhau lies the most complete post-Cataclysmic library, belonging to the enigmatic Collegium Lacunae.  The Collegium is a collective of sages, scholars, priests and, primarily, wizards, dedicated to the preservation of knowledge, and the reversal of the Cataclysm.  In particular they prize magical knowledge, especially magical knowledge relating to the Cataclysm.  They are well known to pay in gold for any tome or manuscript, regardless of condition or subject matter.

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The Collegium itself comprises about a dozen members, half of whom are in residence at the Grimhau at any time.  The Collegium’s master is rumored to be an ancient elf, one who was old even when the colorless fire rained down upon the hapless Empire.  But the master has never been seen in public.  Indeed, only a few of the Collegium’s elite cadre have ever met the Master.

Don't let appearances fool you; these chains are enchanted.

Don’t let appearances fool you; these chains are enchanted.

Despite its secure location, and the additional protection of resolute dwarvish guards hired directly from the Grimhau itself, the Collegium’s library employs two additional safeguards: chains and curses.  All of the library’s hundreds of books are chained to walls and shelves.  The most valuable (and dangerous) of these tomes are chained in a secure vault, enchanted with various wards and curses.  Visitors must possess impeccable credentials to enter the library, and even then a hefty gold deposit is required, with guards in constant attendance.

Some members of the Collegium travel the Riverlands, tracking down leads to forgotten texts.  There are always at least two members, attended by servants and a formidable body of dwarvish guards.  They are known for carrying gold and silver with them, for the acquisition of books and the occasional magic item.  But make no mistake, attacking a Collegium expedition is no light undertaking.

The Collegium has been known to hire adventurers for more dangerous tasks (or, sometimes, require such services from adventurers requesting admittance to their library).  They are happy to perform minor favors for those who serve them well, including magical healing, the identification of magic items, and providing answers to obscure questions.

LWC – Morale Checks

November 28, 2015

Pathfinder0_1000The Long Winter Campaign will not use the encounter building rules.  Thus, it is entirely possible that a party could find itself in over their heads, with few options for escape or evasion.  In general, I’m fine with the players killing themselves off through overconfidence or incaution.  However, I still think there needs to be a bit of a safety valve, of sorts, and I believe a simple morale system will fit the bill.  Indeed, in old school D&D the morale rules, while an artifact of the wargaming roots of the hobby, more-or-less filled the same role.

To be clear, morale checks apply only to NPCs.  Player characters never have to make a morale check (fear-based saves, such as caused by dragons, are a completely different thing), though any NPC retainers or hirelings the PCs bring along might, at the GM’s discretion, have to make a morale check.  So, for the most part, these rules apply to monsters.

Check morale for groups of monsters.  If you have a group of orcs and a group of goblins fighting together, you might treat them as two separate groups.  Solitary “apex” monsters, such as dragons, should check for morale individually.

Good times to check for morale are:

  • When monsters take their first casualty (or first hit, in the case of solitary monsters), particularly if the PC party hasn’t taken any casualties/hits yet
  • When the monsters’ numbers are reduced to 50% or less (or a solitary monster is reduced to 50% hit points), and the PCs outnumber them, or obviously outclasses them
  • When the monsters’ leader is killed, incapacitated or otherwise “defeated”

To make a morale check, use the creature’s Will save.  For groups of monsters with a clear leader, use the leader’s Will save.  The first time a morale check is made, the DC is 10.  If a second morale check is called for, the DC increases to 15.  If the monsters pass two morale checks in the same combat, no additional morale checks will be required during that combat.  Modifiers for bravery/vs. fear apply to the morale checks.  The GM may apply other modifiers deemed appropriate to the circumstances.

Mindless creatures, and fanatics, never make morale checks; they’re always willing to fight to the death.

Creatures that fail a morale check will attempt to flee by the most expeditious route possible.  If escape is impossible, intelligent monsters will attempt to surrender.  If their surrender is declined, they will fight to the death.

I’m inclined to not award experience points for monsters that flee or surrender due to a failed morale check.


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